Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Would you Work Differently?

Ryan Goodman, at Agriculture Proud, asked the question, How would you work differently if a non-farmer/rancher followed you around for a day?

My answer is nothing would change. Our success in the ranching business isn't based on what we do when someone is looking or watching. Our success is based on how we treat and care for our animals and land day in and day out, and we all know that.
This question was exciting to me because in recent months we have had the opportunity to have several people on our place. We had a good friend of mine from college who was here to record us and get pictures for her work with the Wyoming Stockgrowers (she was "the media"!). She happened to pick a day of preg-checking, and our cows were miserable that day (naturally). She saw that no one lost their temper, regardless of the cows being less than willing to work with anyone. She may have even got a couple choice words on her camera. But, it was interesting to see how a day of working frustrating cows highlighted so many positive things about ranching when you're there to see the entire picture.
We also give a talk on ranching to every single hunter that sets foot on our place, prior to releasing them to hunt. One group of dinosaur bone (that's a topic all its own) hunters happened to show up on a day when we were working our yearlings earlier this fall. I stood with the group at the fence and spent over half an hour answering questions, debunking myths, and reinforcing truths they had all heard. These people were from New York to Florida, and it was their first glimpse into real ranch life. The rest of family continued on with their tasks, and these people were fascinated with what they were watching.
As a media person, I have had the opportunity to be in the "following someone around on their operation" shoes many times. Several of these people had no idea I knew what end of a cow ate, and the vast majority of them were exactly as I've described my family. They put me right in the middle of whatever was going on, explained the hows and whys to each task, and were genuinely happy to have me around and explain things to me. They were also not about to put off preg-checking, shipping, weaning, etc.. (the animals always come first) just to visit with me.
These families would almost always invite me in for lunch, offer a place to stay if I needed one, tell me to please come back if I was ever in the area, and thank me for being there that day. The people in agriculture are amazingly hospitable, open and hardworking people, and that is another thing that doesn't change from day to day.
The only thing that is slightly different is the task at hand can take longer because we will take the time to answer any questions people have. We also always invite people in for lunch and conversation after the task. It has been my personal experience that when people outside agriculture actually do spend a day around farmers and ranchers, it's a very positive, eye-opening experience that goes a long way in showing them the truth about our industry!


  1. Good Job!!! Anyone in Ag will tell you - putting a positive "face" to farming is very important - especially in our society today of one-sided media...just me..from the every political world of Wisconsin... :(

  2. As the saying goes, it might be a good thing not to invite the preacher to work cows...

    I love that you point out things never change, our livestock always come first, and that we'll take time to answer questions even if it means a task taking longer than expected. Great thoughts!

  3. We love having new people come around when we are working that cattle. It is a great way for those outside the industry to see what really goes on during these times. Many times after they all find there way back to the house and we sit around eating and talking more about what was just done and what all they saw.